Judge Rejects Trump’s Request To See Documents Seized From Michael Cohen First
On Monday afternoon, a federal judge denied President Donald Trump’s request to have a firsthand look at the documents seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during its raid of his personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel.
The judge, Kimba M. Wood, will also not give prosecutors immediate access to the documents, and she said Trump would eventually be allowed to see any documents concerning him, according to the New York Times. An independent lawyer may be hired to review Cohen’s documents.
On Sunday, one of Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hendon, requested that Wood allow Trump’s team to review the seized material before prosecutors obtained them.
Cohen’s lawyers also requested to see the documents before the Justice Department could last Friday, and Hendon then that Cohen’s team “identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel.”
The documents seized by the FBI last week concerned an array of issues, including Cohen’s payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who Trump allegedly had an affair with in 2006. While Trump’s team has repeatedly denied the affair, Cohen admitted to paying Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — $130,000 for her silence.
FBI agents were also searching for documents relating to Trump’s Access Hollywood interview, a 2005 tape that surfaced during the 2016 Presidential election campaign. It showed Trump making crude remarks about women and admitting to previous instances of sexual assault.
The raid may have yielded recordings of conversations between Cohen and Trump, as Cohen was known for secretly recording conversations with others. Trump was reportedly aware of the practice.
A U.S. federal judge revealed last week that the FBI’s raid was approved as a measure to provide evidence of actions “for which Cohen is under criminal investigation,” according to CNN.
The raid was authorized by a federal judge upon recommendation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump immediately denounced it as a “witch hunt” and “attack on our country.” On Sunday, he tweeted about the loss of attorney-client privilege.
“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” he wrote. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”
Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past. I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
The raid may make Trump less willing to cooperate with Mueller on the Russia probe, and the president has even considered firing the special counsel. However, according to Vox, the investigation into both Cohen and Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election would continue even if Mueller is fired.